While doing a Brand Discovery session with my client, he lamented the depths his main competitor has gone to, to push him out of business. The competitor’s efforts worked and his business had suffered.
What makes you different?
The problem isn’t competition. Many business owners, like my client, have no strategy in place to grow his business. What makes him (and you) different? Don’t think that just because you have a good business, people will automatically come to you. You need a growth strategy.
Why you need a strategy
You need a strategy to address factors that could cause your business to fail. It is the best way to hold yourself and your team accountable for reaching goals. In the end, it’s not the best business that wins—it’s the one that can be found and is the least risky. That boils down to differentiation that can only be achieved by developing a strategy. This ensures you stand out like the woman in the red dress in The Matrix. Even her presence in that program was, by design. See what I mean? Developing a strategy, however, begins at the end.
Step 1: set your goals and reverse-engineer them
Set specific goals using numbers and a timeframe to achieve them. Keep in mind, the sooner the timeframe, the quicker and more aggressive you have to be with implementing it. Typically, that means hiring someone else to help you achieve your goals, because nothing motivates people faster than money on the table. Come up with several revenue streams. Next, determine what information you need to know in order to make your goals a reality. That means gathering data.
Step 2: gather needed data
Gathering the necessary data to help achieve your goals is what branding professionals like myself call a Discovery Session. In such a session, you take a deep dive into your business and brand. Your strategy should ensure that everything moves smoothly down the funnel and leads to a sale. Once you have things written down you need to mess it up.
Step 3: sabotage it
Your most important step. Think of all the factors that could cause your strategy to fail once implemented. The best way to sabotage your plan is to step outside yourself and answer this one simple question, “If I were my own competitor and got this game plan what would I do to make it fail?”
Step 4: determine deliverables and action items
Now that you have a sound strategy in place, what do you need to support it? Collateral materials, ads, products and/or new programs? This is the step where many go wrong. They actually start here rather than developing the strategy first. The deliverables are not the solution, but support items to the solution. Start with the strategy, determine your numbers and then choose the deliverables.
A Sound Strategy Is A Plan For Success
Equipped with your growth strategy in place, share it with your team, and empower them to succeed. After all, when one wins, all win. With a sound strategy, you won’t have to worry about your competitors and their tactics. In fact, your strategy will help propel you as the leader to follow, rather than following others. Until next time, I wish you much success in leveraging your business to achieve your life goals.
George Paul III is a branding expert and award-winning designer. He’s the Founder of Seize the Brand, an education platform designed to empower business owners by leveraging the power of branding to realize business and life goals.